27 Apr 2013, 11:24am
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Kyosendo

The first day in Kyoto was a busy one with tons of walking. After we stashed our stuff at the hotel and had a bite (or several) of tempura for lunch, we hopped on a bus to Yonjo street. I had a bit of an incident on the bus… I dunno about most buses in Japan, but in Kyoto, you have to pay upon exiting. The fare is 220 yen, and you pay exact change. If you don’t have exact change, you can convert your money at a machine on the bus. Now, the conversion machine is the same machine as the one where you pay. I inadvertently threw a 100 yen piece into the conversion machine, and it immediately spit out a bunch of 10 yen coins, much to the dismay of the driver lady. Hahaha…. But hey, it was confusing! The slot was right there, next to the payment bit! But now I know, I guess…

We got off the stop and walked across a river, past the kabuki-za theater and onward towards the sites. We hit Yasaka Shrine before ambling toward Koudai Temple. (By the way, it’s either Koudai Temple or Koudaiji. It’s a bit redundant to call it Koudaiji Temple). Everything was beautiful. There were a ton people there, including quite a few school groups… Maybe it’s that season of the year. We attempted to see Kiyomizu Temple but it was already evening and closing up for the day. Instead, we stopped in at a dessert shop called Kyosendo for a much needed respite. My feet were killing me at this point.

Kyosendo had a shop in the front to buy dessert gift packages and a cafe in the back for dining in. The colorful menu had all kinds of Japanese desserts listed, mostly in “sets.” A set basically meant it came with a drink. You could also order something “tanpin” or “individually” if you wanted an item by itself. There was some confusion when my brother ordered one set and one other thing individually, because the second thing wasn’t “individual” at all. It took a moment to realize that even the solo items come with a complimentary tea.

Pictured above is the sakura-mochi set, which came with a bowl of matcha – very thick green tea. It was just near the end of cherry blossom season, so a lot of places still had their sakura specials on the menu. :)

All of these pictures were taken on my brother’s Fuji X100, which means he probably took most of them.. I might’ve taken a few as well, but I don’t remember exactly which.

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29 May 2011, 6:28pm
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Pacific Place Tea Garden

After shopping around the numerous shops at the Ala Moana Shopping Center in Honolulu, my friend and I stopped at the Pacific Place Tea Garden kiosk for a drink.

I got the matcha (green tea) latte, pictured above. I’m not sure why I got the hot version – it was pretty warm that day, and Ala Moana is an outdoor mall. Still, it was tasty enough, and I always enjoy the calming flavor of matcha. It wasn’t overly sweetened, which was nice.

My friend got something called a pink bamboo float:

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The Secret Garden

I know the Olympics are over, but I still wanted to finish out the last of my Vancouver posts! My friend and I really wanted to do an afternoon tea, so after hunting around for a suitable place, we finally settled on The Secret Garden Tea Company, a quaint and lovely little tea shop and cafe. I really loved this place. A tea doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive to be enjoyable, and this was certainly an affordable yet high quality option that I would go back for in a heartbeat.

They offer a number of different kinds of tea courses: high tea, sharing high tea, demi high tea, and mini high tea. I believe the full-on high tea was only served during certain hours, and since we came after those hours, we opted for the “demi” high tea. This course was like a scaled down version of the high tea, featuring all three of the traditional tea courses: scones, sandwiches, and dessert, in addition to a pot of tea per person.

Pictured above is one of the desserts, a flaky pastry of some kind. It’s been a while, so I don’t recall the specifics, but it was very good, whatever it was. XD;

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9 Feb 2010, 11:51pm
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Royal Milk Tea

Hey everyone! Hope all you Washingtonians are staying warm and safe. The winter double whammy is underway at this very moment, just outside my frosted window. Happily, the power is on, so I can actually blog this from the warmth of my home. Let’s hope it stays that way. (My whole weekend was shot from electricity outage!)

Ah, but to combat the winter, there is this: Royal Milk Tea. A fabulously sweet milky concoction that tastes like Japan. It was the first thing I had when I vacationed there almost 10 years ago, and its flavor still takes me back to the chilly streets of Tokyo, where ubiquitous vending machines sold HOT cans of coffee and tea, right alongside the chilled variety. I was amazed and confused by this marvel of a concept. A hot can! It was genius! And the perfect thing to warm me up on a blustery day in early spring.

This particular variety is the powdered version, which is super easy to make. Just mix with hot water, and done! My brother discovered Royal Milk Tea on HIS maiden voyage to Japan last year, and couldn’t get enough of this stuff. After coming back to the states, I scoured the local Asian markets and online to find a vendor who sold it here, but came up empty handed. In the end, I had to get it shipped from Japan – at great expense – but it was well worth the efforts.

It’s just got that very unique sweetness that I can’t seem to fix up in my own cup of tea.

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